Where people-powered work approaches are optimally supported by people-focused accountability practices, the potential benefits are significant:
Focus on impact:
Putting a premium on long term effective relationships with people, partners, local actors, donors or supporters helps overcome organisational-centric behaviours and keeps focus on the impact stakeholders want to see. It provides a healthy counterbalance to quick wins with glossy actions or short term activities to increase supporter lists or brand recognition. Putting stakeholders on the co-pilot seat is a good check on where real value is added.
People-powered strategies and accountability practice underpin the centrality of relationship building for sustained success. “It is our primary obligation as CSOs to facilitate empowering social relationships. For it is these relationships, history teaches us, that can truly change the world”, says Danny Sriskandarajah of CIVICUS. The new accountability model will support CSOs to live and breathe the new relationship focused model.
Where CSOs are seen as truly interested in: helping other actors; trying to understand their struggles; sharing power; building capacity; celebrating their successes; and helping others relate to one another to advance the common cause – this will do a lot more than any campaign to build and re-build public trust in CSOs in difficult times of shrinking civic space.
An accountability practice, that constantly keeps our focus on what people and partners around us value, also allows us to tap into their knowledge, skills and capabilities for the common cause. This is the key to scaled impact in the digital age. For the new value creation paradigm is not to leverage in-house capacity but to intelligently align within a large pool of like-minded actors and create an ecosystem that is favourable to connective success. One interesting example in his regard is the Haiti Crisis Map. Within hours of the earthquake, Patrick Meyer found thousands of volunteers who filled an interactive map of where things were destroyed, what was needed and who offered which help. No humanitarian organisation had ever managed to get this kind of information in equivalent speed, preciseness and with constant actualisation.
To ensure people powered strategies truly fulfil on their promise to engage a large number of people and partners in co-creating greater impact it needs a strong accountability practice. However, for the above described accountability trends to come alive, it needs people who do it! That is why we are soon going to capture all findings of the Working and the Reference Groups in user briefs for: Board Members, CEOs, COOs, Strategy Directors, Campaigns/Programmes Directors, HR Directors and others.